Page 2096 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 2 August 2016

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MR CORBELL: I refer Mrs Jones to my previous answer, which is that my directorate is undertaking additional quality assurance work to address the exact issue that she raises.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mrs Jones.

MRS JONES: How much more additional time for assessing accuracy will you need and when will the March 2016 and June 2016 Health quarterly reports be released?

MR CORBELL: They will be released as soon as possible.

Rural fire services—funding

MR JEFFERY: My question is to the minister for emergency services. Minister, the government is receiving record amounts of rates and levies, including the emergency services levy. Minister, what additional bushfire services are rural areas receiving as a result of this additional revenue and are they fully resourced?

MR CORBELL: I thank Mr Jeffery for his first question in this place and congratulate him for that. I should point out to Mr Jeffery, though, that unfortunately the increase in the emergency services levy is a result of a direct cut to fire and emergency services capability in our city by the federal Liberal government. About three years ago now the federal Liberal government dramatically reduced the payment it made to the ACT for firefighting capability, recognising our function to respond to fires in national institutions and other bodies that are the responsibility of the commonwealth government in this city.

That dramatic reduction, in the order of many millions of dollars, has had to be borne by ACT ratepayers. As a result we increased the fire and emergency services levy because without doing so we would have had to cut the capability of our emergency services to respond to fires, particularly in the urban area. I would point out to Mr Jeffery as well that the fire and emergency services levy is not solely for bush firefighting capability, it is for all firefighting capability in our city, including of course urban firefighting capability.

When it comes to the investments this government has made in better bushfire response capability I would draw to the attention of the member the significant investments that this government has made for example in the complete redevelopment and construction of a new bush firefighting brigade shed for the Tidbinbilla brigade, a very modern building delivered in the heart of the Tidbinbilla Valley to provide state-of-the-art facilities for the Tidbinbilla brigade or equally the funding in the most recent budget for upgrades to the Guise’s Creek bushfire brigade bushfire shed as well.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Jeffery.

MR JEFFERY: Minister, how can you say that rural areas are fully resourced when I know that this is not the case?

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